The zucchinis went absolutely nuts – and I know 4 plants is a lot – but in the end the count was 72. They started early and stayed with us till the very end – as plants died around them I kept finding hidden monsters beneath. We ate stuffed zucchini, zucchini spaghetti, zucchini soup and gave away so many that everyone we knew was sick of the sight of it!
The initial success with the radishes continued until late in the season when they just stopped growing – I guess that means it got too cold for them. But I was planting them every 2-3 weeks and all our salads were chock full.
The spring onions were slow to start and I was worried we’d planted too many – but even though they got a bit old and giant, they stayed good and were perfect for all the soups we made using up the zucchini, broccoli and pumpkin.
Unfortunately the mad tomatoes didn’t deliver quite as many as I’d first predicted. In the end I let them go a bit too wild, and with the amount of rain we got late in the season, the bottom ones touching the ground turned into a mouldy, sludgy, smelly carpet of rank. And then a hailstorm pounded the leftovers. Still, we had enough for our salads and I cooked up plenty of spaghetti base to freeze.
The cucumbers were the only creatures we were not able to make full use of. Because the initial seedlings died, I planted plenty more, and they turned into a scrappy mess of vines desperately vying for position against the pumpkins and tomatoes. I also realised I’d planted the wrong type – I wanted small cute ones, I got the big ugly ones – and it turns out that there’s only so much you can do with cucumber – there’s only so much tzatziki you can eat – only so many gins you can drink…
The capsicums, which I thought were destined for death, had a late come back and delivered some great looking green bodies. The green beans were champions, growing slowly in their small bushes and providing just a handful every few days. The snow peas, which I was overly optimistic about, did ok, but we only got a few every now and again which I either ate raw or chucked in salads. Some of the herbs did well, the others got taken over by the herbs that were doing well – might have to separate those bossy plants next year! My single silverbeet was a weedy little guy who eventually got strangled under the pumpkins. The beetroots, growing vertically down like carrots instead of into cute little bulbs, tasted ok when we roasted them, but they were a little overripe.
Mr broccoli, the latecomer that he is, ended up going great guns, though I’d planted far too many, and even though I made multiple batches of broccoli soup, we couldn’t keep up, ending up losing many of the larger heads to mould from rain.
I didn’t think the sweet corn was going to make it, growing slowly at the back and always at risk of heavy rain and hail, but in the end we got around 10 good cobs, which I slathered with butter, salt and pepper and ate messily like I was 12 years old.
Despite their shaky start, the pumpkins proceeded to take over everything in their path and finally we harvested 18 beauties which are happily basking in the cellar to keep for many upcoming roasts and soups.
I’ve updated my spreadsheet and I will be paying heed to it next year – at the very least hopefully we’ll plant the right amount of vegetables for what we can actually consume.
All in all, it was a lot of work, especially with my back being the way it was – but it was with extreme pride that we picked and ate our own veges, and watched the happy faces of the people we gave excess stock away to. We have some improvements to implement for next year, but overall I would call the Green Thumbs Project a success.
Now it’s time for a long, cold, winter break, resting our weary haunches.